So some people believe that everything happens for a reason. And others believe in serendipity*.
Either way I had to chuckle today at home cell. The topic for the evening was ‘Seek first to understand, then to be understood‘. I turned over the page and the first task was to: ‘Take a few minutes to discuss the difference between empathy and sympathy‘. Divine intervention or coincidence – you decide!
Whether emapthetic or sympathetic, both require us to at least hear the other person’s story first by listening. I don’t know about you, but I sometimes get myself into trouble by assuming things. Assuming what someone’s going to say, how they’re feeling, what they’re expecting, etc. Assuming things means we’re not effectively listening. When we are truly interested in what someone is saying, 3 important things happen:
– We give them a sense of self-worth
– Trust is built up
– We can decide what to do on the basis of knowledge rather than assumption or ignorance
If it’s so important, why do we find it so difficult to listen with empathy?
Pick one or all that apply…
– Desire to be appreciated for offering a wise solution
– Insufficient time to give or impatience
– Need to defend your position
– Feeling of superiority
– Distractions like noise, movement or thoughts
– Assuming you know what the person’s going to say
– Been there, done that – let me tell you about me
– Thinking of your reply
We can all probably pick at least one that we could work on if we’re honest.
*Serendipity = The occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.